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Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC, 1874-1908 Hardcover – January 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199551650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199551651
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.3 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,329,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"William Oddie's fine account of Chesterton's early intellectual formation--as he moved from a life-shaking skepticism to a convinced and self-critical faith--is a helpful corrective to the notion that, like a latter-day Athena, GKC sprang from the godhead as a full-blown defensor fidei . ...Oddie [has] tunneled deep into the Chesterton archives at the British Library to give us fresh access, via unpublished notebooks and uncollected journal articles, to the makign of the great man's mind. In so doing, [he] has made crucial corrections and modifications to prior interpretations of Chesterton." --Christian Century

"In his brilliant study Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy, William Oddie revisits Chesterton's formative years to show how his critique of the modern culminated in Orthodoxy (1908) one of his finest books... Whether familiar or unfamiliar with Chesterton, readers will benefit from Oddie's insightful researches." --Books & Culture

"Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy is the most ground-breaking work on Chesterton since Maisie Ward's seminal 1944 biography. ...It should be on the shelf of everyone interested in Chesterton." --Catholic World Report

"This volume is the first part of what promises to be the definitive intellectual biography of Chesterton ... Oddie thoroughly and convincingly plumbs Chesterton's intellectual development." --Culture Wars

About the Author

Dr William Oddie is a former editor of The Catholic Herald and author of a number of books on literary and theological themes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
G K Chesterton was truly one of the great men of the 20th century. Yet what he believed, and the life he led, stood in starkest contrast to that grim triad--Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx--who promised, at the start of the 20th century, such stupendous change for modern life.

Chesterton entered public life just as the Victorian era was at its end. His family, intellectual and wealthy, had given him a happy childhood. He was a cheerful and brilliant child. He actually penned his first composition at age 5. And, after that accomplishment, it can be said that Gilbert never stopped writing.

Chesterton's pleasant life had only one real shadow. Frances, his wife whom he deeply loved, was never able to conceive. They had both "always longed for children" and Frances even underwent an operation to help the problem. Which was unsuccessful.

Chesterton would become the apostle of common sense, a Roman Catholic who would defend orthodoxy against all comers. But he didn't begin that way. He was raised as an Anglican. In fact, "in the mid-1890s...his anti-clericalism was graphically illustrated in an unfinished short story called 'The Black Friar' (p 149) in which it turns out the friar is really the devil.

It is surprising to read that "the Christian religion...was not a subject which predominates in the journalism of Chesterton's first three years in Fleet Street (1900-2) (p 238). It was a role he came to gradually.

Chesterton eventually became one of the most famous Christian apologists in the world. He and George Bernard Shaw drew large crowds when the two friends debated whether or not God existed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable and interesting investigation in the years that led Gilbert Keith Chesterton to embrace Catholic orthodoxy, and become one of, if not the, pre eminent Christian apologists of the 20th century. This held my interest from the beginning, and was well worth the effort. Highly recommended for Chesterton fans.
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